SEO Expert

What You Must Know about Dwell Time in SEO

Dwell time is one aspect that is mentioned in many social media sites, articles, guest blogs, and conferences. However, many misinterpret it in the industry.  Does Google value it? Does it affect ranking? If yes, how does it affect your business website? According to an article published on, it looks like Google is rewarding sites that have higher dwell times with top positions in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Before we delve deeper into the subject, let us understand what dwell time is in SEO.

Dwell time is the total time a visitor spends on a web page after clicking a link on the SERP and before clicking the mouse back to the search results page. We do this all the time when looking for information online. You study the page that you have just clicked. If the content provides the answer to your question, you stay or else click the back button to return to the SERP right away. The more time you spend reading the web page, the more the probability that page met your needs. Similarly, the less time you spend on a web page, the less satisfied you are as a user. Read on to learn more about dwell time and its impact.

Dwell time is not about bounce rate

As far as bounce rate is concerned, it occurs when a visitor views a single page of your website and leaves immediately. It’s the ratio of single-page sessions divided by the total page session for your site. It may be for a single page too. The users who leave your site, they do not come from Google’s search page all the time. They may have just pasted the site URL to visit your site. Even though the bouncers visited your website through the SERP, it does not imply they clicked back to a particular SERP. They may close the web page or visit another site.

It is not session duration and average time

If you are thinking session duration, you are wrong. Dwell time is not about it either. The session duration factor gauges how long an internet visitor spends on your website. If an individual’s session did not start with Google search, it could not return to the search results page.

Dwell time is not either about the average time spent on a web page. It’s often misunderstood though and used interchangeably, but when it comes to average time, it is nothing but the amount of time spent on any one page of your website, on average. A visitor may have landed on that page through Facebook or Twitter, a URL of another site, a blog, or an email. These things are confusing for some website owners if things are not explained properly.

It is not the click-through rate

The click-through-rate (CTR) in organic search is the ratio of users clicking on your website URL compared to the total number of visitors who viewed that particular search page. People often mistake it as dwell time, which is not true at all. Dwell time is all about what happens after a person clicks and not the ratio of visitors who clicked. That is the reason why one should read online literature related to the subject to get a better understanding. It will help in clarifying doubts.

It is not about RankBrain

It is one of the greatest misconceptions about dwell time. Historical search data is used to predict something about earlier unobserved queries. Data is collated via a visitor’s interaction with search results and not the way they interact with content. It is as simple as that.

You cannot measure dwell time with any third-party tool. Google and the other search engines can do so and have access to dwell time.

When is Dwell Time a visit?

If you think technically, each click is a visit. Then, to be candid, not every visit is equal. You might be wondering what we are talking about after all. With more experience in the industry, you will know what metric affects your business. To be on the safe side, a visit of a second is not worthy for most of the businesses. All online businesses would like users to engage for a long time. When it comes to your analytics, the results may vary depending on how things are tracked. However, it is essential to evaluate your site visits by the amount of time a user is engaged with your website.

If you have managed to optimize your conversion path, you will learn about the average time any transaction takes and this way; you can easily understand what an ideal visit should look like. It is all about learning and understanding. Therefore, take some time out of your busy schedule to understand dwell time.

How to Impact Dwell Time

You will not find just one thing that affects dwell time. It means you need to work hard to improve the user experience on your website. The visitors are looking for information all the time, and your website should deliver the exact content people want to access. Therefore, create unique, useful, and informative content on your website. Are you still using auto-roll videos when people come to your site? If yes, avoid the practice because it will not prove effective.

Avoid putting important information on a web page way down with a header image. Ensure that your content is easy to find and understand. It is the first and foremost aspect that users notice when they land on your website. That is the reason why Google and other search engines like Bing stressed on above the fold idea and shunned pop-ups. The guidance regarding above the fold was provided to improve the user experience.


Users hate it when they do not find the information they want to access. That is why dwell time is so important. You must learn more about it and take the right steps to have a positive impact on your website. Fix the problems and improve the user experience. That is the mantra.